« הקודםהמשך »
CHAPTER V. Those of the ancient philosophers who argued for the immortality of the soul,
placed it on wrong foundations, and mixed things with it which weakened the belief of it. Some of them asserted, that the soul is immortal, as being a partion of the Divine Essence. They universally held the pre-existenee of the bu. man soul, and laid the chief stress upon this for proving its immortality. Their doctrine of the transmigration of souls was a great corruption of the troe doctrine of a future state. Those who said the highest things of future happiness, considered it as confined chiefly to persons of eminence, or to those of philosophical minds, and afforded small encouragement to the common kind of pious and virtuous persons. The rewards of Elysium were but temporary, aud of a short duration: and even the happiness of those privileged souls, who were supposed to be admitted not merely into Elysium, but into heaven, vas not everlasting in the strict and proper sense. The Gospel doctrine of eteroal life to all good and righteous persous was not taught by the ancient Pagan philosophers.
CHAPTER VI. Those that seemed to be the most strenuous advocates for the immortality of the
soul and a future state among the ancients, did not pretend to any certainty concerning it. The uncertainty they were under appears from their way of managing their consolatory discourses on the death of their friends. To this also it was owing, that in their exhortations to virtue they laid little stress on the rewards of a future state. Their not having a certainty concerning a future state, put them upon schemes to supply the want of it. Hence they insisted upon the self-sufficiency of virtue for complete happiness without a future recompence: and asserted, that a short happiness is as good as an eternal one.
CHAPTER VII. A state of future rewards necessarily connotes future punishments. The belief
of the former without the latter might be of pernicious consequence. The ascient philosophers and legislators were sensible of the importance and necessity of the doctrine of future punishments. Yet they generally rejected and discarded them as vain and superstitious terrors. The maxim universally held by the philosophers, that the gods are never angry, and can do no hurt, considered.
CHAPTER VIII. The generality of the people, especially in the politer nations of Greece and
Rome, had fallen in a great measure from the belief of a future state before the time of our Saviour's appearing. This is particularly shewn concerning the Greeks, by the testimonies of Socrates and Polybius. The same thing appears with regard to the Romans. Future punishments were disregarded and ridiculed even among the vulgar, who in this fell from the religion of their ancestors. The resurrection of the body rejected by the philosophers of Greece and Rome.
CHAPTER IX. Our Lord Jesus Christ brought life and immortality into the most clear and open
light by the Gospel. He both gave the fullest assurance of that everlasting bappiness which is prepared for good men in a future state, and made the most inviting discoveries of the nature and greatness of that happiness. The Gospel also contains express declarations concerning the Punishment which shall be inflicted upon the wicked in a future state. The necessity and importance of this part of the Gospel Revelation shewn. The Conclusion, with some general ref. ctions upon the whole.